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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Whither freaque wave

Freaque wave, along with the popular media usage of words: freak or rogue waves, representing a strange phenomenon of our time as it seems that we all know what it is, yet at the same time, we don't really know what had really happened when we heard it.

Abounding news media alluding to freaque waves causing mishaps, how do we know that was really freaque wave?

We don't!

A case in point: there was a news yesterday in Phuket Gazette of Thailand that was entitled "Man drowns in 'freak wave'".

Every time when reading a news like this, my first question is usually what kind of "freak wave"? There is likewise usually no clear answer. Most likely stemmed from someone's personal speculation. The details of the Phuket news is simply this:

The body of one of the three men who were dashed against rocks at Paradise Beach by a single large wave on Saturday was recovered today.
A single large wave and the reporter, or the editor, took the liberty to call it freaque wave. It's a tragic case. The loss of a human life unnecessarily is always a sad tragedy for the friends and family. Does not matter where it was happened.

This case happened somewhere here:

near Patong, but rescue is not always readily available there as:

Police were delayed in reaching the scene, however, as the rocky point is inaccessible by car and surrounded by mountains between Tri Trang Beach and Patong, and is approximately a three-kilometer journey by boat, Capt. Nithikorn explained.

“There is a small dirt track that goes there, but you can only walk there or go on an off-road bike, which meant it took a few hours before police could reach the scene,” he said.

K. Anusorn was in Phuket on holiday. His body was recovered today by Kusoldham Foundation volunteers and taken to Patong Hospital.
As one following the news around the world while doing this blog for freaque waves and always ended up asking "What kjind of freaquie wave was it?" I must inevitably come to the conclusion: the term is over used!

As much as we don't have a well defined definition for a freaque wave. We are going to face the uncertainty of not knowing whether or not a wave is indeed a freaque wave.

Recently I turned down a request for a phone interview on freaque waves, because I don't think there's really anything worthwhile to talk about on freaque waves right now. No worthy new research result, no new measurement, what we have and know are all become part of a cliche or talking point. There are real freaque wave happenings out there, there are real tragedies happening out there, but when we hear talks of freaque waves -- we have no idea what they are that were talking about!

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